While we were in Ukraine we had the chance to meet kids in other orphanages, one of whom was Katya. She lives aout an hour out of the city in an orphanage that is pretty much forgotten except for some missionary groups that work with them in the summer and the Ferdon’s who come every Saturday. She’s 14 years old and in the 6th grade and showed up at this orphanage about a year ago. She has 2 siblings, but she has no idea where they are anymore. She lived with her mother for most of her life, but did not attend school because she had severely crossed eyes. Her mother managed to teach her to some reading and writing at home. When we met this young girl she was shy, never made eye contact and rarely said much.

Through the persistence of another lady who got to visit the same orphanage, Katya received corrective eye surgery last month. She stayed with the Ferdon’s for a week during the treatment and had the chance to live in a healthy, Christian household during that time. They bought her a couple needed outfits, paid for a cell phone since she was alone while in the hospital, bought her food for her hospital stay (food is not provided in the hospital), medicine and some glasses with corrective lenses. After her procedure they were able to put up new pictures of Katya and I honestly did not recognize her. A quote from one of the people who saw her right after really sums it up…

‘She has NEVER liked having her picture taken. On Saturday when we saw her it was the first time I have ever seen her with her head held high and talking, laughing and having a good time with people. It’s been such a boost for her confidence.’

Katya’s treatment will have several stages as her eyes strengthen and she will need to return to the Ferdon’s at least 3 more times for her to see a doctor. They are hoping she can stay in their house the whole time for each of these treatments and the first will be in December.

I’m writing about Katya because rarely do we get to hear about older orphans and what they are facing. Katya will age out of the system in a couple years and will be left pretty much on her own. This surgery is truly a miracle for her and provides the possibility of a more normal life for her…one in which she will hopefully be able to provide for herself, continue her education and be accepted in society. More importantly, in my eyes, it gives her the opportunity to live in a Christian home during her treatment and will hopefully plant seeds that will grow into true faith in Jesus some day. The Ferdons’s have paid for all of her needs so far, but have asked others to pray about helping them with the expense. They are a missionary family from the US who live incredibly frugally in Ukraine and this was not a budgeted expense. It cost $500 for Katya’s first visit and they are expecting the rest of the visits to cost another $500 total. They are also requesting prayer for her as she heals from her surgery and continues the needed treatments (she will go through a series of corrective glasses that will help her eyes focus).

If you feel led to help Katya I would be happy to get you in contact with the Ferdon’s.